Personal Experience – say NO to coalition with Mrs May
As a prodigal son, returning to the Liberal Democratic Party after 20 years, may I be permitted a brief piece of advice from personal experience.
I stood, and came second to, Conservative minister Jim Lester in 1983 in Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire. When I was doing walkabouts in the shopping centre at the beginning of the campaign people were walking around me to avoid “getting caught”. By the end of the campaign people were deliberately coming to see me because our message nationally was going down very well.
In 1987, I stood again in Broxtowe and at the beginning of the campaign people were walking towards me to chat when I did the walkabouts. Then David Steel and David Owen were asked whether they would support Mrs Thatcher in the event of a hung parliament. David Steel said “No” – hooray for David Steel. But David Owen said “yes”, the Alliance WOULD support Mrs T.
The very next day – THE VERY NEXT DAY – people walked away from me in the shopping centre. It was as if I had developed a communicable disease. We came third to Labour in the 1987 GE in Broxtowe. That one unfortunate word from David Owen made all the difference. I called Party HQ but they took no notice of what I said unfortunately.
So, Tim Farron, please avoid saying “Yes” to a coalition with Mrs May, or for that matter, with Mr Corbyn. They are both toxic in their own ways to potential Liberal Democrat voters in this General Election.
By all means make a case for realignment after a successful election by Liberal Democrats, but we have to get the seats in great numbers and speak from strength, since a promise to support either Party leader before the election will decimate our possible vote. This experience is burned into my soul from 1987. History has a way of repeating itself – ignore it at OUR peril.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS TO WIN IN 2017